When Spencer Seabrooke first witnessed the sport of slacklining, or highlining—traversing a not-taut rope stretched high above the ground, calling for greater balance than a traditional tightrope—at a 2012 film fest, he "walked out of there a different person," he says. Writing for Victory Journal, Laura Yan details how within two weeks of that experience, Seabrooke had become hooked, eking out inches across a rope pulled across a friend's garage (it could take him up to two hours to get across it). Yan documents Seabrooke's evolution from those early garage days to what he says became a "natural progression" of his hobby: free solo highlining, or walking high above an abyss with no tether and no protective backup underneath. It's a terrifying endeavor that only a few in the world have the stomach to undertake, but Seabrooke shrugs it off with, "We're all gonna die someday."
The mental and physical fortitude needed is intense, especially the concentration. "A slight waver in your focus, a slight inkling of fear, and you'll fall," Yan writes. Not that the appeal of the sport is a surprise to Seabrooke's mom, who says he was always a fidgety, adventurous child who "never experienced pain like other kids." Even today Seabrooke admits he loves stressful work and "suffering" (he does hard labor in the concrete industry). Yan pauses at one point to ask a question that many people likely have: "Why would anyone ever do that?" Seabrooke's answer offers all the insight you need into his personality: "Well, why wouldn't you?" Read more on his story here, including how his "scared s---less" mom refused to "like" any of his highlining posts on social media—until the day he finally made his record-breaking walk across the "Itus." (Inherent dangers exist in a multitude of extreme sports.)